inEducation: 10 Random Rants
There is a great deal that is really good in educational institutions today, but that’s not what this piece is about. With all that is good, there is always room for things to be better. Just ask anyone—really—ANYONE at all.
Few will pass on the opportunity to offer, in rarely humble opinions, exactly what is wrong and how to improve the current state of education, “if only those (idiots) in charge would listen.” The following contributions, in no particular order, are modestly offered to anyone in need of a rant of their own:
- Don’t let Common Core replace Common Sense. In fact, stop implementing all mandates that are the educational equivalent of reinventing a fully functional wheel. Trust education professionals—and stop defining “education professional” as anyone who has ever gone to school. Flying in a plane doesn’t make you a pilot.
- Stop pretending the President is giving to his children that which he would deny to ours. The Obama girls do not go to a school with armed guards; the children of the President are provided with federally mandated protection by the Secret Service. Also, using earned personal income to send their children to a private school is not a public concern, it is a parental choice.
- Technology is a tool, not a toy. Integrate it thoughtfully, appropriately, and meaningfully. Recognize that technology, like any tool, requires proper training and understanding of its purpose. A good rule of thumb when incorporating technology is to assess whether it creates more problems than it alleviates.
- Speaking of technology, isn’t it funny how desperately we want our kids to have access to computers at school, but as soon as they get home we worry about how much time they spend in front of the screen?
- Remember that the only school where teachers have magic wands is Hogwarts. It’s also the only school with Time-Turners, so anyone expecting one teacher to deliver personalized instruction to thirty students in one class period may want to apply there.
- Substandard performance on standardized testing does not necessarily correlate to substandard teaching. On the contrary, it could be evidence of teaching excellence that does not necessarily correlate to excellent standardized test scores.
- Stop trying to motivate “standards” compliance by threatening to withhold federal funds. Aside from taking money away from where it is likely needed most, don’t those funds come from taxes paid by citizens who expect them to be used, at least in part, to ensure an educated citizenry?
- As a person who shouts “Fire!” in a crowded theater can be held criminally liable, so too should we indict anyone who utters the phrase, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” Same for anyone who claims “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Charge them with perpetuating ignorance of criminal proportions.
- Unless the entire student population of Lake Woebegon has transferred to local schools, all of our students are not above average. Let them know this is OK. They will have a better chance to succeed once we stop setting them up to fail.
- Explain how we can race to the top, yet have no child left behind?